Electron Microscopy Unlocks the Answers to the Toughest Ceramics Questions
Electron microscopy is essential in the development and quality control of ceramics materials, providing answers to questions about issues of concern such as phases, porosity, inclusions, microstructures and bond interfaces. Scanning electron microscopes (SEM) make it possible to examine the inner structure and core of ceramic materials as well as the microscopic differences between similar samples. SEMs reveal the quantity and distribution of multiple components in the material, plus any irregularities or areas of strain.
Today’s SEM is virtually a ‘nanolab’ in a single, powerful, smart instrument, with the ability to image samples at sub100nm scale resolution, clearly observe grain orientation, and document chemical composition and distribution. Analytical capabilities of the SEM include dynamic thermal experimentation, elemental composition, and more.
An energy-dispersive x-ray detector (EDS) is one of the more popular detectors that is added to an SEM, and is used to not only determine the elements present in a sample but in many instances to give insight into the quantity as well as the spatial distribution of these elements over very small volumes.
Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) is another analytical tool that is available on the SEM to characterize the crystallographic properties of materials, such as: grain size, orientation and grain aspect ratio.
Use of this comprehensive instrumentation has never been easier. The user can navigate to a precise location on the sample, quickly zoom and focus on that location, and record and store data. Routine imaging and analysis processes can be recorded in a recipe and settings used again and again.
Sample preparation can make all the difference in obtaining structural composition data. Use of a precision cross-sectioning tool to prepare a ceramic sample is ideal for maintaining the integrity of the sample for optimal imaging and analysis of grain orientation in hard, soft and composite materials, providing a clean, mirror-finish surface with minimal strain or distortion.
JEOL USA will exhibit at Ceramics Expo 2018 on Booth 446.